This course has concessions available

Portrait: Evening

Explore portraiture working from the clothed figure. The course is for students interested in portraiture and in learning the subtle art of drawing and painting people. The aim is to draw and paint portrait, with students working from the model, drawings and photographs.

If you would like enrol at the concession rate, please request and complete your enrolment by contacting: or calling 020 7269 6000 Mon- Thu

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

This course is aimed at students who are interested in portraiture and would like to learn the basic principles of how to draw and paint a portrait from life. Students will primarily be working from the model throughout the course. Suitable for all levels.

What does this course cover

The course will look at ways into portraiture, with the primary focus being on the structure and form of the head with reference to the skull. Students will learn to look closely and acquire an understanding of the basic anatomy of the head.

Initially drawing in pencil and charcoal, students will try to convey the form and volume of a head, before specific features are refined.
Students are invited to work in their preferred medium whilst demonstrations will be given in both drawing and painting. Students will learn about colour mixing and the advantages of using a limited palette. Advice will be given on how to choose a limited palette suitable for portraiture.

The relevance of portraiture both historical and contemporary, will be discussed, including analysis of various portraits through the ages to present day

By the end of the course students should be able to:
1. Work from the model to select and extract useful information
2. Have a strategy for beginning a portrait from life, including simplifying the head initially
2. Understand the basic structure of the head including the skull
3. Be able to establish the basic proportions of the face, using measuring where necessary
4. Use line and tone in order to create volume and form
5. Mix colour using a limited palette to paint from life
6. Have a notion of what makes a likeness and a strategy for achieving this.
7. Have a basic understanding and awareness of the history of portraiture
8. Have the confidence to do portraits independently out with the classroom.

What will it be like

This is a practical course where students will learn through doing.
Group discussions will take place. There will also be demonstrations. Students will be guided stage by stage throughout the course, with additional one-to-one tuition.
Students' progress will be monitored throughout the course with work being discussed at the end of each session within the group context. Individual goals will be discussed with the tutor and worked towards.

Teaching methods: Visual demonstration and verbal explanation. Written handouts with visual diagrams. One-to-one teaching. Group discussions
Learning methods: Hands-on practical activities, Reading handouts and following instructions.
One-to-one and group discussion.
How students are assessed: Questions and answers during group discussions and one-to-one teaching.
Record of students' progress and achievement on an assessment sheet as they achieve the course objectives. Practical work produced is evidence of learning.

What else do you need to buy or do

Suggested materials:

For drawing: Pencils, charcoal, eraser, sharpener, paper (available for purchase at the centre), masking tape or clips.
Painting materials: A selection of colours, brushes, palette, canvas or board, rags, jars, Eco-friendly thinners if using oil paints (e.g. Zest-it). Please note students are not allowed to dispose of any thinners at the centre.

What this course could lead to

This course will prepare students for further courses in both drawing and painting.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’